Things to Do in Hartford, Connecticut

Wadsworth Athenaeum Museum of Art

Museum/Gallery, Hartford

With more than 50,000 artworks and artifacts spanning 5,000 years, the Wadsworth Athenaeum Museum of Art is the second-largest public art museum in New England and the oldest in the nation. The first American museum to acquire works by Salvador Dalí and the Italian artist Caravaggio, the museum also houses 7,000 items documenting African-American history and culture in partnership with the Amistad Foundation. Particularly impressive are the museum's collections of baroque, impressionist, and Hudson River School artists!

Address: 600 Main Street, Hartford, CT

Phone: (860) 278-2670

Cost: $10

Hours: Wed.-Fri. 11-5 (1st Thursday of most month 11 until 8), weekends 10-5
Wadsworth Athenaeum Museum of Art Website

State Capitol

Government Building, Hartford

The gold-leaf dome of the State Capitol rises above Bushnell Park. Built in 1878, the building houses the state's executive offices and legislative chamber, as well as historical memorabilia. On a tour, you can walk through the Hall of Flags, gape at a statue of Connecticut state hero Nathan Hale, and observe the proceedings of the General Assembly from the public galleries, when in session.

Address: 210 Capitol Ave, Hartford, CT

Phone: (860) 240-0222

Cost: Free

Hours: Weekdays: 9:15, 10:15, 11:15, 12:15, 1:15
State Capitol Website

Lady Katharine Cruises

Public Cruise Line, Hartford

Discover the endless possibilities for putting a splash of fun in your life. Whether you’re thinking of a special occasion or going out just for fun, you’ll make it a better experience when you are on the water. Visit the website for complete details regarding location, rates and upcoming event.

Address: 600 Main Street, Hartford, CT

Phone: (860) 278-2670

Cost: $10

Hours: Wed.-Fri. 11-5 (1st Thursday of most month 11 until 8), weekends 10-5
Lady Katharine Cruises Website

Mystic Seaport

Museum/Village, Mystic

The distinguishing feature of Mystic Seaport is that it hasn’t anything in common with a typical whisper-quiet, don’t touch museum environment. The complex is full of things to do, feel, climb, hear, smell and even taste.! Visitors can walk along the streets of this authentic 19th century seafaring village and talk with one of many role-players, watch boat builders, riggers and lumbermen at work, or even raise a ships sails. Mystic Seaport has the most extensive collections of vessels in the U.S.

Address: 75 Greenmanville Ave., Mystic, CT. Mystic Seaport is located about 10 miles east of New London in Connecticut’s “Ocean Corner”, part of the Mystic Places region. (About 1 hr. 15 minute drive from Hartford)
Phone: (860) 572-0711
Cost: Adult (18-64) $29.95, Senior (65+) $26.95, Youth (13-17) $25.95, Children (3-12) $21.95

Hours: Weekdays: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Mystic Seaport Website

The Old State House

Historic Landmark, Hartford

Take a tour of this 1796 National Historic Landmark, one of the nation’s oldest state houses. Tour the magnificiently-restored historic rooms, experience and interactive audio tour, visit the immersive Education Center, shop in the museum store, attend a program and so much more

Address: 800 Main Street, downtown Hartford, CT

Phone: (860) 522-6766

Cost: Admission is FREE for Old State House and Connecticut Historical Society Museum members and children aged six years and under.
 $6 adults, $3 seniors (65 and over), $3 students (with valid college ID), $3 youth (6-17) Free admission on the first Saturday of every month
Hours: Tuesday-Friday, 11 am to 5 pm, Saturday, 10 am to 5 pm
Old State House Website

Mystic Marinelife Aquarium

Aquarium, Mystic

Visitors of the Mystic Marinelife Aquarium will get face to face with amazing sea creatures, enjoy a fascinating sea lion show, and touch a cownose ray the Ray Touch Pool. There is also a 30,000-gallon simulated coral reef habitat with exotic fish from around the world. Return to Titanic is another interesting exhibit, which marks Dr. Robert Ballard's historic return to the legendary wreck he discovered in 1985. The exhibit includes a breathtaking 18-foot model of the Titanic.

Address: 55 Coogan Blvd., Mystic CT, Mystic Aquarium is off of Interstate 95 in Mystic
Phone: (860) 572-5955

Cost: Adults $17.50, Senior (age 65+) $16.50, Children (age 3-17) $12.50, Children (age 2 and under) Free 

Hours: Sunday - Saturday, 9 am - 6 pm
Mystic Marinelife Aquarium Website

New England Air Museum

Museum, Windsor Lock

See the landmark artifacts of aviation which changed history - Learn about the courage and determination of famous men and women who brought aviation to where it is today. Hear firsthand the stories of veterans who lived the wars of the 20th century and fought to preserve the freedom we now enjoy. Experience firsthand the principles of flight which have challenged the pioneers of aviation for generations. Discover the impact our state of Connecticut has had on aviation and space exploration from the earliest balloon launches of 1857 to the design of space suits for the Mission to Mars.

Address: 36 Perimeter Road, Bradley International Airport, Windsor Lock, CT
Phone: (860) 623-3305

Cost: Adults: $12, Children (ages 4-11): $6.50, Children (ages 3 and under): Free, Seniors (65 & up): $11

Hours: 10 am-5 pm daily
New England Air Museum Website

Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame

Basketball Museum, Springfield, MA (30 minute drive from Hartford)

The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame is a fantastic destination for everyone from lifelong basketball fans to families with children who are just beginning to explore the world's most popular sport. The Hall of Fame is located in "The Birthplace of Basketball", beautiful Springfield, Massachusetts.

Address: 1000 Hall of Fame Avenue, Springfield, Massachusetts

Phone: 413-781-6500 or 877-4HOOPLA

Cost: ADULTS - $21.00, SENIORS (Age 65 & Up) - $17.00, YOUTH (Ages 5 - 15) - $15.00, CHILDREN (Age 4 & Under) – FREE

Hours: Friday 10AM - 4PM, Saturday & Sunday 10AM - 5PM
Basketball Hall of Fame Website

Chester-Hadlyme Ferry

Transportation Site, Chester

Sometimes the simple pleasures mean the most. The Chester-Hadlyme Ferry is the second-oldest continually operating ferry in the country. Although the trip across the Connecticut River to Hadlyme aboard the Selden III, the current vessel, is swift, you'll still catch nice views of the valley and Gillette Castle

Address: 148 Ferry Rd., Chester, CT
Phone: (860) 526-2743
Cost: Vehicle and driver $5 walk-ons $2

Hours: Weekdays 7 am-6:45 pm; weekends 10:30 am-5 pm
Chester-Hadlyme Ferry Website

Mark Twain House and Museum

House/Mansion, Hartford

Built in 1874, the Mark Twain House & Museum was the home of Samuel Langhorne Clemens, better known as Mark Twain, until 1891. While he and his family lived in this 19-room Victorian mansion, Twain published seven major novels, including Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn, and The Prince and the Pauper. The home is one of only two Tiffany- designed domestic interiors open to the public.

Address: 1351 Farmington Ave, Hartford, CT
Phone: (860) 247-0998

Cost: Senior Citizens (65+) $15, Adults (17-64) $18, Children (6-16) $11
Hours: Monday-Saturday 9:30-5:30; Sunday 11 am-5:30 pm
Mark Twain House and Museum Website

Hartford Stage

Live Theatre, Hartford

Now in our fourth decade of pioneering theatre, we enjoy an international reputation for artistic quality, innovation, and commitment to diversity. Over the years, we’ve launched 54 world and American premieres, sent numerous productions to Broadway and Off-Broadway, and have featured the best actors in the nation.
 Contact the website for shows, show times, and ticket prices.

Address: 50 Church Street, Hartford, CT

Phone: Box Office: (860) 527-5151, Theatre: 860-525-5601

Cost: $10

Hartford Stage

Connecticut Science Center

Science Museum, Hartford

With 150 hands-on exhibits, a state-of-the-art 3D digital theater, four educational labs, plus daily programs and events, the Connecticut Science Center offers endless exploration for children, teens, and adults. From physics to forensics, geology to astronomy, visitors have the sciences at their fingertips.

Address: 250 Columbus Blvd Hartford, CT 06103
Phone: (860) 724-3623

Hours: Monday-Closed; Tuesday thru Sunday: 10 am-5:00 pm
Cost: Adult: $19, Senior $16.50, Youth (3-17) $14
Connecticut Science Center

Mohegan Sun Casino

Casino & Hotel, Uncasville, CT (1 hour drive from Hartford)

Mohegan Sun Casino is a Native American Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut and is open daily 24 hours. The casino's 300,000 square foot gaming space features 6,495 gaming machines and 300 table games. The property has twenty restaurants, seven bars and a hotel with 1,176 rooms. Mohegan Sun is your Connecticut destination for casino excitement surrounded by top entertainment, gourmet dining, premier shopping,luxury hotel including complete spa treatments. Visit the website for a complete overview of all of the exciting opportunities available to you at the Mohegan Sun.

Address: 1 Mohegan Sun Boulevard, Uncasville, CT

Mohegan Sun Website

Foxwood Casino

Casino & Hotel, Mashantucket (1 hour drive from Hartford)

In 1986 the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation opened the original high- stakes bingo hall. Today Foxwoods comprises six casinos that collectively offer more than 7,000 slot machines and an incredible 400 tables for 17 different types of table games, including 100 for poker. There's a luxurious, high-tech Race Book, as well as the world's largest Bingo Hall. Foxwoods is the largest casino in the world, with 340,000 square feet of gaming space in a complex that covers 4.7 million square feet. More than 40,000 guests visit Foxwoods each day.

Address: 39 Norwich Westerly Road, Mashantucket, CT

Foxwood Casino Website

See Connecticut’s Capital Without Going Broke

Hartford is home to historic and cultural attractions, many of which you can see absolutely free. Whether you're planning your first visit to Connecticut's capital city or you're a resident looking for something fun and affordable to do in your own back yard, here's a quick look at 10 free things to do right in Hartford.

  1. Bushnell Park
    Between Elm and Jewel Streets, 860-232-6710

    America's oldest public park is home to more than 125 tree species, some more than 100 years old. Pick up a free Bushnell Park Tree Walks brochure at the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Arch or at the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection--the building with the red-tile roof on Elm Street adjacent to the Park. The self-guided tour described in the brochure will take you on several different walks through Bushnell Park and help you to locate more than 40 different species of trees.
  2. Center Church and Ancient Burying Ground
    Main and Gold Streets, 860-249-5631
, Church open Thursdays, 11 a.m. - 2 p.m.
 The Ancient Burying Ground is the final resting place for many of Hartford's founders and early settlers. Center Church, which was built in 1807, was modeled after St. Martin-In-The- Fields in London and features stained glass windows by Louis Tiffany.
  3. Elizabeth Park
    Prospect and Asylum Avenues, 860-242-0017

    Hartford is home to the first municipal rose garden in the U.S. During the summer months, more than 14,000 rose bushes representing 900 different varieties of roses are in bloom. The park is open free daily. Elizabeth Park Photo Tour
  4. Governor's Residence
    990 Prospect Avenue, 860-566-4840

    By appointment This 1909 Georgian Revival mansion has been home to Connecticut's governors since 1945. Free tours are available by appointment.
  5. Katharine Hepburn's Grave Site
    Cedar Hill Cemetery, 453 Fairfield Avenue, 860-956-3311
, Monday - Sunday, 7 a.m. - 5 p.m.

    It's not exactly an attraction, but if you are a Katharine Hepburn fan and you happen to be in Hartford, you may want to pay your respects to the late star of more than 75 films by visiting her grave site. Hepburn was born in Hartford, Connecticut, on May 12, 1907, and following her death on June 29, 2003, she was buried in her family's plot at historic Cedar Hill Cemetery.
  6. Museum of Connecticut History
    231 Capitol Avenue, 860-757-6535
, Monday - Friday, 9 a.m. - 4 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.

    See historical exhibits depicting Connecticut's history and heritage including the original 1662 Connecticut charter issued by the British crown, a collection of Colt firearms and portraits of state governors.
  7. Hartford Star Shuttle
    Downtown Hartford, 860-522-8101
, Monday - Friday, 7 a.m. - 11 p.m, Saturday 3-11 p.m.

    The Hartford Star Shuttle is a free shuttle bus service that connects the Connecticut Convention Center and the riverfront with downtown hotels, restaurants, shops and attractions. Take a free ride to reach a specific Hartford spot or for a quick tour of the city.
  8. Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Arch
    Trinity Street, 860-232-6710

    This Gothic brownstone monument honors the 4,000 Hartford citizens who served in the Civil War and the 400 who died for the Union. Free half-hour Arch Tours are available Thursdays only, noon to 1 p.m., May through October.
  9. State Capitol
    210 Capitol Avenue, (860) 240-0222
, Monday - Friday, hourly tours starting 9:15 a.m. - 1:15 p.m.; Saturday tours April - October only, 10:15 a.m. - 2:15 p.m.

    Hartford's spectacular gold-domed State Capitol building was completed in 1878 and is a National Historic Landmark. Free one-hour tours begin in the adjacent Legislative Office Building. Advance reservations are required for groups of 10 or more.

You can also download this as a printable PDF version.

The CT Transit also has a map with free downtown shuttle  it is available for download here.